Landscape Changing

Kurt —  July 9, 2008

It’s time to talk free agents, both Lakers and everyone else’s. This post will be updated throughout the day (and into tomorrow) as signings are made. Also, the Laker summer league roster is expected to be formally announced today, so that will go up as well.

• Let’s start with the Lakers, the Warriors have offered Ronny Turiaf 4 years, $17 million. I love Ronny, but the Lakers cannot match that, the Warriors are overpaying for Ronny. (This is not the first time the Warriors have done this, remember Fisher left when the Warriors overpaid for his services, then they had to dump that contract on Utah.) If you’re Ronny, you have to take that deal, I’m all for a home-tem discount but one of 50% or more is a little steep. And while some here do, I do not think the Lakers match. Because of the Luxury Tax, the $4 million for Ronny is really $8 million, and that is too much for a 15-minute a game bench big.

But, I will always cheer for Ronny, and I hope he thrives up there. He will remain one of my favorite players just for his passion for the game and life.

• With Ronny out the door (the Lakers have seven days to match but almost certainly won’t) who do you get. There have been reports that the Lakers front office has spoken with Kurt Thomas’ representatives. He could be a solid fit off the bench, and he can hit that midrange jumper that works well in the triangle. Commenter Kwame a. has pushed Craig Smith, that could be another solid fit. There are a handful of other backup centers on the market I’d expect the Lakers to contact. I hope Mihm can be the backup center we need, but after the two years of injuries you can’t bet on that, another big body is needed.

• No word yet on Sasha, but it is not uncommon for players like him to see how the top-tier free agents shake out then see if he can get another offer from a team left scrambling. However, after losing Ronny I think the Lakers will match just about anything (unless it’s another overpayment like Ronny).

• Well, I still think the Clippers will be more fun to watch with Barron out top, but they have to be disappointed. Now how does Barron feel about going from a struggling team with a wide-open style to a struggling team with a button-down style like the Clippers offense?

• Philly is now in the second tier in the east in my mind, behind Boston and Detroit in my mind but capable of competing with Cleveland and the like. And, with a lot of young talent, they should improve the next couple of years.

• Maggette is going to get all the shots he wants now in Golden State. But I am very glad he did not go to San Antonio (the fact he went where the shots were rather than coming off the bench for a winner says plenty about him) (that deleted comment was unfair considering the money offered).

• Out West, so far the balance of power remains pretty much unchanged.

172 responses to Landscape Changing

  1. I wonder if Kobe has sent message (directly or indirectly) to the Front Office that he wants them to retain Ronny. If he did, do people think the Front Office will take that into account?

  2. (Ok, so I moved this comment over from the last thread) I think I am going to cry… Ronny was my favorite. What he brought to the team was so much more than his minutes on the court. I trust Mitch to make the right decisions regarding personel (what a difference a year makes) and I know we will be allright. With Bynum coming back there was not going to be a lot of minutes for him anyways. With that being said, I cannot believe folks are still talking (see last thread) about Kwame! Please, for the love of God, I cannot stand to watch that guy play the game of basketball. Just because he has a big body does not make him a basketball player. He can do absolutely nothing other than press his big body against another big body in the post. On the offensive end, it would be worse than playing with only four players, since he would actually be occupying space, and someone may be tempted to pass to him. I will miss Ronny, but we don’t need to do anything drastic…

  3. If Ronny goes…will be sad to see him go…but…good for him…is it over paying? I dont know? Maybe with more playing time…he does more…he is all heart though!!! so…I am happy he is going to get paid.

  4. I’m sure Kobe has told the front office since the exit meetings that he wants Ronny back, but even Kobe would understand that Golden State is overpaying.

    Ronny Turiaf is one of my favorite Lakers and it will be a sad, sad day to see him go (almost on the same level of stomach-punch feeling as when those bastards in Golden State signed Fish away from us a couple years ago), but if he does go, I wish Ronny the very best.

  5. It is a shame, but at that price you have to let Turiaf walk. Kobe is smart and ruthlessness enough to understand that signing Ronny for that amount would actually hurt the Lakers chances to win.

  6. The problem with paying Ronny that much is it is a four year deal. Next year Bynum gets a big raise (whatever the amount is) and you are going to have to pay Ariza more to keep him (especially if he finds a jumper). You’ve got to cut costs somewhere, and as much as I love Ronny I disagree with Golden State of Mind, there are other big bodies out there.

  7. Yeah, too much for Ronnie, as much as I like the guy he is not worth that much. I like the Idea of either Craig Smith or Kurt Thomas to replace Ronnie, and both can be had for cheap.

    A team like Philly could use a shooter off the bench as well as a few other teams So I can see a few teams that might offer Sasha some money, especially if the Lakers don’t match Turiaf’s offer, they might think they can steal him from the Lakers.

    Who do the Clippers look at now that they have some cap space. Do they save it hoping to partake in the 2010 FA class, or do they offer some money for Okefur or Josh Smith. Smith and Davis would be fun to watch in the open court.

  8. The Lakers lost Derek Fisher to free agency–so, the Lakers finally ended up starting the Smusher–until they finally lucked into getting Derek back. I hope I don’t have to find out who the Lakers find to replace Ronny.

  9. 7 – Anything the Clippers offer for Josh Smith will be matched by Atlanta, and Dunleavy is a control freak on offense.

  10. As for the Clipper/Brand situation-how about David Falk making one last huge power play. No less than 2 months ago I say a blurb on Truehoop where Falk was advising college students not to get into the sports agent business, mainly because of its ruthless nature. He was not lying, dude really stuck it to Sterling. Clips should sit on that money.

  11. Kurt Thomas is definitely the guy the Lakers need. He is a better version of Turiaf at this stage of his career, sans the energy on the bench. Tough, got a mid-range jumpshot, dependable 15-25 minutes a night if needed. And he’s going to be much cheaper than Turiaf.

  12. carter blanchard July 9, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I’m still so upset about the Ronny thing. The worst part is, I imagine those fans will have a hard time embracing him like we have simply because he’s being overpaid like a mofo, which totally changes how you perceive a player’s contributions.

    Quick question, I know Baron made a verbal commitment, but with the signings not official until today, is it not too late for him to bail now that the Clippers look quite different?

  13. Entirely agree Kurt,

    The only qualm I have is the pursuit of Kurt Thomas. He is proven to be a great interior defender, but I question whether he can keep up with our pace? I already forgot the Spurs series. Did they sit him b/c the Lakers pace was too fast and he was hindering the Spurs on offense, or was he able to contribute to both sides?

    I would rather the Lakers shoot for a more athletic big a la Craig Smith, unless it’s certain that K. Thomas is in great shape and can handle the rigors of the season/postseason.

    And what’s the status of Tom Thibodeau or Jeff Van Gundy, wouldn’t a defensive schemer be EXACTLY what we need to improve our team?

  14. Last question to all of you. Assuming we let Ronny sign w/ GS, how much should the Lakers be willing to match for Sasha?

    I say they go no higher than 4.5 mil.

  15. Drrayeye-I see what you are saying, but your analogy is not really apples to apples. Fish was a starting PG, and finding a replacement for that position is one of the hardest things to do in the leauge. Ronny is a back-up big, and while not easy to replace, it is reasonable to believe the Lakers can (if they choose) find a suitable replacement.

  16. Good for Ronny. But to be honest, his play ON the court was overshadowed by his personality OFF the court…in a good way. But it’s time for the Lakers to make the next step and actually develop a team that fits their style more.

    Kurt Thomas fits that role to a tee. An experienced big man that has a better perimeter shot than Ronny. Or Craig Smith, who can provide a little more bulk and toughness down low than Turiaf could offer. Either of those 2 are slightly better fits ON the court.

  17. Allan Aaron Katz July 9, 2008 at 10:59 am

    The Maggette comment of him going for where the shots are was a low blow in the wrong place. He chose money and shots over bench and winning. To be paid 4 million a year more and get a starting position over being a seventh man on a great team is not a choice that is so easy to judge. – Allan K.

  18. Thibodeau is not jumping Boston’s ship, makes no sense. Can us fans please get over the idea of anyone from Boston leaving to help the Lakers? I don’t see JVG working under Phil Jackson.

    If the Lakers don’t match, I’m still going to sport my Turiaf jersey.

  19. Kurt,

    There have been rumors of Sasha receiving more than the mid-level exception. Would you match an offer over the mid-level? If so, how far above the exception would you go?

    Personally, I wouldn’t go above $6 million per year. But I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Vujacic either.

  20. And I’m really disappointed that we’re likely to lose Turiaf. Ronny brings so much energy off the bench.

  21. 15- George

    If Elton Brand, Mr. Wholesome himself has taught you anything it’s that money makes people do crazy things. Who knows how much Boston is offering Thibodeau? And I know JVG and Coach Jackson have a past, but if the Finals were any indicator it’s that they need to improve on defense, and he’s available.

    We didn’t think we’d hire Coach Jackson back, but here we are. We have seen stranger things.

  22. Isn’t Craig Smith a restricted free agent? Is there any reason we should think Minnesota wouldn’t match the Lakers offer they have to have more money then the Lakers could possibly be willing to offer.

  23. Craig Smith is a 6′-7″ bruiser playing power forward – center. The great bigs in the West will be shooting over him all night long. Tim Duncan will be licking his chops when he sees the undersized Craig Smith on the floor. The Lakers need a big w/ height and girth. Smith is not that guy.

    I have to say I’m happy to see that all the free agents so far are choosing teams that are still a ways away as opposed to teams that are only a player away. As a Laker fan seeing the balance of power remain status quo is what you want. Magette to the Spurs/Boston was a concern but thankfully he’ll be gunning in GS.

  24. 22. Craig Smith is a restricted FA, so he would be a long shot.

    21. Phil knows how to coach D, his teams in Chicago and the Shaq-era Lakers were top defensive teams in the league. He didn’t forget, it’s a matter of personnel. Another coach is not the answer.

    19. Actually, at about $5 mil or higher I start to have second thoughts about Sasha. I like him, but again this is a backup SG, those guys exist and is not who you break the bank for.

  25. I don’t think Phil’s ego would ever allow a coach like JVG coming in.

    I’ve been reading up a little more on what Philly would be like with Brand. I guess I underestimated their chances. I still wouldn’t go as high as 3rd best in the East, maybe 5th or 6th still, but much better chances now to beat Detroit, Cleveland and Toronto. I think Toronto made a a big step in the East getting JO.

    Too bad Ronny might be leaving. I liked watching him, but I’ll be upset if he learns to stop picking up quick easy fouls against the Lakers.

  26. I think what the Lakers are willing to pay really depends on their plans for Farmar. If they are resigned to the fact that Farmar will be gone when he’s up for a contract, then I think they’ll be willing to pay for Sasha. Fish will have to come off the bench eventually I believe, and it’s Sasha who is in the game late alot. I think the Lakers would pay 5 mill for Sasha, and would match 4 mill in a heartbeat. I originally thought 3.5 might be a number for him, but after seeing a team give Ronny 4 mill, I’m hoping now.

  27. Is Carl Landry available?

  28. I too will be sad to see Ronny go. I doubt the Lakers would consider matching that offer and that’s too tempting to pass up for Ronny.

    DRE – I don’t think the comparison between Ronny and Fish is very apt. Fisher was a veteran starter who got pushed aside by the signing of Payton in his final year. Not to mention that Fish was replaced by Chucky Atkins, who was eventually supplanted by Smush. However, considering what the team actually squeezed out of Smush in his two years here, I’m not too concerned with Ronny’s replacement.

    Kurt – I think Philly may have passed Detroit by adding Brand to the mix. They really started to get things going the second half of the season and performed very well in their series vs. the Pistons. I think they were looking at a high-40s, possibly 50-win season even before Brand got there assuming everyone stays healthy.

  29. Terrence-I don’t think Craig Smith would be dealing with Duncan-Pau would (or Andrew). Bench players all have flaws (that’s why they are bench players), but if you can add players that bring different skills (for instance interior toughness/physicality) it can help a team improve.

  30. Kurt – I agree with comment 17 above. You’re judging Maggette too harshly. GS offered $20m more than the Spurs, plus presumably a starting gig. That’s a lot to give up just for a chance for a championship on an older team in a super-tough conference.

  31. We better punish G. State when we play them, on general principle-ality.

    We gon miss you Ronny!

  32. For Sasha, the Lakers have a free agent who probably would love to come back to the Lakers, plays better defense, and earn about $3.5 million: Mo Evans.

    There is only one big guy who’d love to come back to the Lakers, has played in the Laker system, and gets along with the guys to replace Ronny–and he may cost about the same.

    The Warriors, with no investment in Ronny, looked at all the same free agents the Lakers will look at (minus the best ones), and decided that Ronny was the best value. What makes anyone think that any big the Lakers sign in the $1-$2 million range who doesn’t know the Laker system, will magically produce an acceptable skillset and replace Ronny’s backup skills?

    Are we looking at Slave Medvedenko? I think he’s still recovering from injuries.

    I think the Lakers should think about this very carefully.

  33. 24-

    I can see what you’re saying. I guess I just got so frustrated watching the Finals I forgot about the previous success Coach Jackson’s had. Boy is my face red. Hopefully, a huge center patrolling the lane is just the cure to solidify our defense.

    Also, NBA players have a very unpredictable lifespan. One injury and their chance to remain a highly paid player is over. The choice Maggette made is nothing I wouldn’t expect nor condemn. If I were him my outlook would be to get paid the most on a team I think can contend for a title. (Which is why I am so peeved at Marion) If that’s not possible then just get paid the most where you can showcase your talents. Eventually, towards the end of your career when you aren’t able to be the star, you accept less money and accept a role on a contender (Mike Finley).

  34. So, doesn’t Turiaf’s likely depature mean that Lamar is likely to stick around b/c of his versatility as a 3 and 4?

  35. The Dude Abides July 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    If it comes down to matching Ronny or bringing back Kwame at half of Ronny’s salary, I vote for #1. I don’t think I could take having to watch Kwame play for the Lakers again.

    I think we have to see about Kurt Thomas, but also that it will take at least a two-year deal at $2.5m/yr to land him.

    So this is where the Vlad and Luke deals bite us in the rear. Actually, if we match Ronny’s offer, I will be happy and surprised.

  36. 27. Landry is a restricted free agent and Houston would match anything LA can give.

    As for Maggette, I thought the money was closer than those figures. In that case you have to go for the money, I was a little harsh. (That said, still not convinced Maggette is not a selfish player.)

  37. I know nothing about Craig Smith so I can’t speak to his skills compared to someone like Kurt Thomas… but I suspect that the Lakers need veteran savy and toughness more than a younger guy (Smith is 24) that will give them marginally better production (at least in the short term).

  38. Is it for certain that Baron Davis is going to sign with the Clippers? Has he already done that? Would going back on his word be really bad for him?

  39. @ 2 (and in general) i think i’m going to cry as well. right here at work…
    but best of luck to ronny!

  40. 19 – “…There have been rumors of Sasha receiving more than the mid-level exception.” Where are these rumors coming from? Do you have a link? If that is true than we can kiss Sasha good-bye as well. I hate to see the Lakers great bench get dismantled this way.

  41. Let’s see…Ariza & Bynum next year, Farmar the following year, Kobe & Gasol the year after that. All this on top of the contracts for Vlade and Walton. Somehow I don’t see the Lakers matching GS’s offer.

    The reason I would take Craig Smith (6’7″ 250 25yrs) over Kurt Thomas (6’9″ 225 36yrs) is age, athleticism, bulk. They are both unrestricted, but we could possibly use Smith for several years. I see Gasol sliding over to center after Bynum, so Smith would strictly be playing against 2nd & 3rd string players. His biggest liability is his passing, not his size.

  42. 36, Kurt

    Landry seems to have chronic knee trouble, or at least a nagging knee injury; that may be a concern for Houston and they may be reluctant to resign him. Having drafted Joey Dorsey, and already having Scola and Chuck Hayes in the mix, Houston may be amenable to having him sign elsewhere. That being said, Landry could fill in quite nicely for Turiaf, but that knee is worrisome and it might be too risky an investment.

  43. 19/40. Rumors are a dime a dozen this year. Some are from agents looking to get a better deal (if you were Sasha’s agent, wouldn’t you say interest was up?), some are from team execs trying to outflank opponents, and some are from yahoos on message boards. We all need to evaluate what we read.

    38. Davis has not put pen to ink, I don’t think, but it could damage him and his agent’s rep to give his word and them back out.

  44. 42. Are you kidding me, the entire world is high on Carl Landry, he is not some secret nobody gets. Did you see the buzz around the league on this guy? I don’t think I can emphasize this enough — no way Houston lets him walk. Not for what the Lakers can offer. At best you could try to trade for him, as if Houston want’s Luke’s contract. I love Landry but he is not going to happen for us.

  45. (42) Chibi,

    Since Houston is purportedly (according to unsubstantiated but persistent rumors) going back and forth between Landry and Sasha (for $5.8 million), if we got Landry, we’d probably lose Sasha.

    Ironic, huh?

  46. By the way, we keep saying “poor Clippers, bad luck” but the fact that year after year free agents try to get away from them says a lot. Only one time have they spent money and got people to come, and now those people want out.

  47. I worry about becoming overly fixated on value at the expense of bottom line team talent. It reminds me of a common feature in fantasy auction drafts — there are always a few teams that consistently pass on high salaried stars in the early going, only to find themselves with a glut of cash to spend on nobodies late in the draft. Yes, several teams overpayed to gobble up good players early and other teams modestly found value, but the early spenders still always end up with the more talented teams. Could we be doing that if we say Turiaf isn’t worth $4M and Sasha isn’t worth the midlevel? Yes signing Brezec or Elson for $1 million is better value than Turiaf for $4 million. And yes Mo Evans for $3 million is better value than Sasha for $5.5. But, at the end of the day the team is still better with Turiaf over those stiffs and Sasha over Evans, right? Even if we had to overpay a bit to retain them? I know we have our backs against the tax wall and every spent dollar counts as two, but we have to sign a backup big and combo guard somewhere and we’re talking about saving a million here or two there, so why not stick with proven, young players in our system. It’s hard to know where to draw the value line without knowing Buss’s bottom line budget demands, but I’m in favor of matching on Turiaf unless we can get a proven big for lesser value (the only one I see is Thomas). He’s 25, knows the offense, is a nice shooter and passer, will improve, accepts his role, and did an admirable job stepping in when Bynum and Gasol went down for long stretches. That sounds like pretty close to a $4 million big man to me.

    The Fisher analogy is a bit strained. GS paid him $39 million; we’re talking about $17 here. One is egregious, the other is just a bit high.

  48. Honestly, I coud care less about the Clippers. Maybe it’s a local thing. I’m in RI, so I can’t feel for them. To me, they’re just the Lakers JV team.

  49. Another note, from ESPN that is interesting:

    Arizona signee Brandon Jennings has decided to make an unprecedented move to forgo playing in college and instead pursue a professional career in Europe next season before likely entering the 2009 NBA draft, Jenning’s attorney, Jeff Valle, told on Tuesday night.

  50. I wonder if Baron Davis feels this is his last big contract, so he better make the most of it. Remember his injury issues with Charlotte/NO? That was the prime reason the Lakers didn’t make a play for him (he wanted to come here then, too) He got better the longer he stayed in GS. At the end of this contract he will be 33.

    This being the case, I wonder what the Clips are getting? The offense is much more structured and he will take more banging with the Clips. Perhaps Dunlevy should institute a more uptempo offense with Brand gone.

  51. The Great Googly Moogly July 9, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Lakers should take Craig Smith over Kurt Thomas. That way, when Bynum rejects the Lakers less-than-max offer next year, Pau can play Center and Smith will take over at PF. Also, with Bynum gone, Kobe will most likely opt out which means the Lakers will have plenty of $$ to pay Odom. Seems fair to me.

  52. Reed hits it on the head.

    Turiaf is young, energetic, plays good defense and can hit a jumper. Kurt Thomas won’t be around in 4 years and another replacement for Turiaf will be needed.

    Mo Evans is a good player, but not a three point shooter. One reason why Sasha played a lot in crunch time is that he helped spread the floor.

  53. (51) Googly,

    Great comment. lol. Made my day!

    The next year, we can allow Jordan to sign with another team and save some more money by bringing back Smush Parker!

  54. It’s also not Reed’s money he’s spending.

  55. Via Truehoop, the market has been set for Bynum.

    5 years, 72 mill for Bogut, that means Drew will be getting 5 years 80 million. Keep this in mind for all transactions.

  56. 50-

    If Davis was trying to capitalize financially, he should have stayed for the last year on his Golden State contract ($18mil) and THEN tested the free agent waters. Even if he had a bad season, it’s tough to imagine that he couldn’t have landed a contract similar to the one he’s getting with the Clippers. Teams are constantly overpaying for proven point guards.

    No, Davis went to the Clippers because he figured Brand would stick around. And, of course, he had good reason: Elton is on record as saying that he wanted to stay and told the Clipper F.O. to pursue Davis. The Clippers kept their end of the deal, and look where it got them.

    Can you fault Brand for jumping ship? That depends. The Clippers obviously trusted his loyalty and he did everything he could to reassure them. You don’t ask your team to pursue an expensive free agent if you don’t intend to stay once he’s been landed. But the Philly deal would be tough for any player in his situation to pass up. He gets out of the West and onto an up-and-coming team for a lot more money. He instantly makes the Sixers a top-4 team in the conference and he doesn’t have to play for Mike Dunleavy anymore.

    Baron Davis gets the bait and switch, but it’s hard to feel sorry for him, since he basically did the same thing by leaving Golden State after claiming that he wanted to stay.

  57. 55. Wow, that seems high for Bogut, but you are right that it sets the market.

    54. Let me just flesh that thought out rather than take a shot at Reed (which I don’t want to do). The bottom line is none of us know the cash flow numbers for the Lakers. We know what the franchise is worth (especially compared to what Buss paid for it) but that is paper money in a lot of ways. How much profit was made, we can guess at but do not know. So it’s easy to say “Pay turiaf $4 mil plus the $4 mil in tax” but that is not money coming out of our pocket. We don’t really know the numbers.

  58. Bogut only got $60m guaranteed. That’s still high, but not as outlandish as the headlines suggest.

    Hopefully, the Lakers and Bynum can also agree on a contract with a lot of bonus $ based on games played and performance.

  59. Ugh. Some teams are so stupid. Thanks Milwaukee. Thanks, alot. The rest of the NBA applauds you for overpaying your center.

  60. Posted by Sam Amick
    The Lakers rang with no call back as yet from the Kings, and it appears the pieces in that possible deal have not changed. The Lakers are willing to offer forward Lamar Odom, but the question is whether they’re willing to take on the contract of forward Kenny Thomas (two seasons, approximately $18 million left).

  61. The Dude Abides July 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Also, Diop gets the full mid-level with the Mavs. That sort of illuminates the market for bigs.

  62. Going into this offseason I was banking on the fact that Sasha and Rony would both receive offers. The thing is Rony would benefit career wise by leaving, he could actually put up some decent numbers on a lot of teams, and show that he has a lot more skill than people recognize. As far as Sasha, the system is set for him in LA and the coach likes him, a bit too much at times in my opinion. Sasha wont go anywhere personally I would rather keep Rony but as we are willing to open up the pocket book for Sasha he is no idiot and knows this is as good a situation as he will find.

  63. The Dude Abides July 9, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Odom for Artest and Kenny Thomas doesn’t work in my book. Thomas is pretty much worthless, and absolutely HATED by the SAC fans. Do we re-sign Ronny if we make this trade? If not, then we are significantly weaker at the PF and C positions. Kenny Thomas is not a legitimate PF. He’s only about 6-7, he’s slow, and doesn’t have great hops to make up for his lack of height, speed, and shooting ability.

  64. 55. Only $60m of Bogut’s contract is guaranteed, the rest is incentives.

  65. A lot of good comments regarding payroll we already have two bad contracts in Luke and Vladman, I would rather let a couple players walk and pick up veterans than have two more on the books for years. Like a couple people already said the majority of the money needs to go to Kobe, Bynum, Gasol after that priorities for the long term need to be Ariza and Farmar. Those five should be the ones that lead this team to championships. With Kobe, Bynum and Gasol there will be plenty of veterans willing to sign for less to win championships, thats how it always is. Turiaf hasnt even made squat yet he deserves to chase the money for a couple years he will be back, he is a laker at heart.

  66. LG Gold-Thanks. That still is too high. That 60 million dollar deal to Nene and the 65 million dollar deal to Dalembert, coupled with this Bogut deal really would make me happy if I were Drew Bynum’s agent. If he puts together a season that he was headed towards last year, it will be very hard for him to make the argument he deserves max dollars.

  67. The Dude Abides July 9, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Kwame a, I think you left out a negative in that last sentence.

  68. Oops, It will be very EASY for Bynum to make the argument that he deserves the max.

  69. Has there been any discussion in the comments on this site about Darius Miles’s situation? As I understand it, Portland gets out from under his cap number next year if Darius stays retired, but if he is on some team’s roster for 10 games, then Portland is stuck with his contract on its salary cap. I think it makes sense for the Lakers to sign him as an end-of-the-bench guy, assuming he would agree to the veteran’s minimum (or even a non-guaranteed contract that becomes guaranteed after a certain number of games, a la Coby Karl). Frankly, I have no idea what he has left, and I know he’s a knucklehead, but maybe he could provide some energy and hustle minutes. He’d be playing to salvage his career, and you would think Kobe and Phill would keep him in line. It seems like it might be a good gamble that, at worst, screws Portland, one of our biggest rivals in the years to come. Frankly, I’d rather sign him than resign Karl or some other non-rotation minimum salary player.

  70. 61)

    I have this sick fascination with wondering what stupid team is going to shell out for Kwame Brown. That Diop signing for the full MLE is absolutely ridiculous. I like Mark Cuban but the dude makes some questionable (at best) basketball decisions.

  71. I’d sign off on Odom+Mihm for Artest+Brad Miller.

  72. 66)

    If Bynum has a full year like what he was heading towards last season there is no reason he shouldn’t get the max. I don’t think it would be wise for the Lakers to extend Bynum right now, it just doesn’t make sense financially.

  73. Elton to the Sixers(and they have a great shot at making the Eastern Conference Finals)…Corey to the Warriors (and getting over paid)..and Baron Davis to Purgatory.

    Brand opted out so that the Clips could make moves…and they did and he walked anyway…but…didnt Baron Davis tell the Warriors the same thing?

  74. After reading John Hollinger’s analysis of the 76ers after the Brand signing and what they still need, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a big push for Sasha.

    They desperately need 3-point shooters and Sasha is probably the best on the market right now.

  75. What about Gasol acting as back up 5 and Odom at 4. Give Bynum, Gasol and Odom each 32 min per at 4 & 5 and use Ariza, Walton, Rad and Kobe at 3. This lets the bigs get fewer mins, doens’t play Odom out of postion at 3 and allows Gasol to play 5 when the match up is right. It bascially replaces Rony with Bynum only Andrew will get many more minutes and do it much better. We would of course sitll need more depth up front just in case of injuries

  76. (70) Chibi,

    I think you’re on the right track, and it might work for them since Mihm is an expiring. Brad and Ron would be a good fit for us. If they wanted two starting players for this year, we might give them Lamar and Vladimir.

    Under those conditions, we wouldn’t need to sign Ronny–or anyone–as a free agent.

  77. 70/76

    Why would Sacramento want Odom (and no way they would take Rad’s contract)?

    I am among the chorus that is anti-artest. I don’t think he makes the team better, but can definitely derail everything we worked toward last year.

  78. ESPN radio broadcast the Elton-Falk press conference in Philly. Falk just filleted Donald Sterling in front of the cameras.

    While this would put an entirely new light on Elton Brand leaving the Clippers, you have to ask a few questions before taking what Falk said at face value…
    1) Falk doesn’t like Donald Sterling and has acted against the Clippers in the past when his clients had a choice. People don’t volunteer information like that without so other agenda.
    2) When the Clippers couldn’t contact Elton through Falk, it was perfectly reasonable to have the coach – who had a good relationship with the player – try to contact him directly. Slamming the organization for having the coach call the player wasn’t really called for.
    3) The Clippers had just reacted quickly to the Baron Davis opportunity, so the comments about the organization not being able to react with any speed don’t really hold water.

    This sounds like an agent trying to move all the “blame” for the move off to the other organization, rather than admitting that he, the agent, also had an agenda in this affair.

  79. carter blanchard July 9, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I think you actually have to play Darius for at least 10 games, which is something no coach would do purely out of spite. Try explaining to the healthy hard-working player at the end of you bench that you’re playing the broken down player over him just to stick it to Portland.

    And partially thanks to Reed’s comment, my head is actually coming around more and more on matching Turiaf (my heart’s been there from the beginning). If Diop is worth +5 mill, then maybe you can’t find a serviceable big for that much less than 4. And overpaying him by 1 or 2 mill isn’t at all the same as giving someone 4-5 too many, right? Obviously Kurt’s right that this isn’t our money we’re playing with, but if the choice is someone like Kurt Thomas who’s old and doesn’t have the chemistry for 3 million versus Ronny for 4, I think you gotta go with Ronny right? And our frontline is thin enough that we need someone there, so why not Ronny.

  80. The Great Googly Moogly July 9, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Russell Westbrook is going to be a MONSTER

  81. (77) beyondblue,

    They are looking for expiring contracts. Lamar and Chris would be perfect. Miller is on for two years, and they’ve got two other centers–one of them a very young first rounder–they are further over the cap than us right now.

    Artest is relatively low risk for us because he is an expiring contract. We’d need to get rid of at least $7 million of Lamar’s contract (better the whole $14 million) anyway to have any credible shot at keep our young players next year.

  82. Da Bake,
    Not a bad analysis. I doubt Gasol is going to back anyone up. It is more likely that Odom is the backup 4 and Gasol/Bynum leaves the game early, depending on matchups, performance, fouls. What I think this does is increase the chance that Mbenga gets resigned for next year, at the minimum.

  83. Hey Andrew Z #74, the sixers might need a perimeter shooter but they don’t have the cap space to make that happen. In order to get Brand they had to trade Rodney Carney and a first round pick to Minnesota for their 2.8 million dollar trade exception and a second round pick. That right there shows you how capped strapped they are. The Spurs however may be interested in Sasha now that they’ve lost out on Magette. The Spurs are always fiscally responsible though, so we’ll see what they’re willing to pay. If it’s the full mid-level exception, the Lakers should think long and hard before matching that offer. I wouldn’t match that offer though since Sasha’s worth about $3 million a season.

  84. The Odom for Artest stuff is a waste of time. The FO is not going to do this. You don’t make that kind of a risky move to a team that made the Finals without its starting center. Championship caliber teams make tweaks, not blockbusters. If the Lakers don’t win a championship next year, few will say it was because they didn’t have Ron Artest (especially with his history). But if they make the trade and Artest doesn’t live up to expectations (or melts down under the pressure), everyone is going to be on Mitch’s case saying “what the @#$% were you thinking, messing up a team like that?”

    As far as Ronnie is concerned, his energy and attitude will be missed… but his fouling will not. You can’t get $8 million worth of play out of a dude who finds a way to get into foul trouble, even when he’s only on the court for 15 minutes. That has really been the difference in his career… and one of the main reasons we weren’t able to get more out of him in the playoffs. I hope he works that part of his game out. If he does, he will have a fine career.

  85. GGM — I hope you’re right. Westbrook seems like a good kid and I’m always happy when UCLA alums do well.

    But Westbrook’s performance in the SL isn’t a particularly good indicator of how he’ll do during the regular season. For example, Marco Bellini of GS was destroying the competition early on in last year’s SL, but was el busto during the regular season.

  86. 69. Darius Miles actually has to PLAY in 10 games, not just be on the roster for 10 games. And he has a 10-game drug suspension coming, so any team wanting to screw with the Blazers’ cap has to sign him for the whole season, then wait out the suspension.

    79. If there were a direct correlation between summer league success and regular season success, Nikoloz Tskitishvili would have been an NBA MVP candidate years ago, and Marco Belinelli an All-Star last season. That said, I love Westbrook and think he’ll be a great pro. But let’s not get too excited about summer league results.

  87. Could the loss of Ronny change the necessity of Artest?

  88. Kurt,
    Landry is not as cut and dried as many believe. If the Rockets sign Motumbo,Barry and their 2 rookies they’ll have 14 players under contract and only be some $400,000 under the Lux Tax. The owner is extremely reluctant to commit to the Lux TAx before he knows if Yao and McGrady will be healthy enough to make a Playoff run. Anything over $3mil and I seriously doubt Rockets match-esp as they have 4 PFs on roster as is. It appears Landry wants the full MLE.

    Carl is a player who really gets the crowd going,but he has serious limitations. He created less than a half dozen shots for himself all yr long and got pushed off the court by physical PFs. Landry is a better finisher than Ronny,but far inferior as a defender and as of last yr Ronny had a much better J-and range on it. If you were going to spend $3-4mil on Landry,you’d be better served giving Ronny his money.

    Even giving allowance for GS wanting to grab some local Laker fans,it’s quite telling they went for Ronny and not Landry.

  89. The Dude Abides July 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Well, if I’m the Clips, and I want to be competitive for the next few seasons, I go ahead and sign Baron. Then, I have to decide between Okafor and Josh Smith. If I have Baron already signed, then I choose Smith. He’s a much better open-court option to run with Baron. The Clips already have Kaman to man the low post in a half-court game. Kaman can trail the runners and set up down low if the transition opportunity isn’t there. With Josh Smith, Baron, Thornton, and Eric Gordon, that’s a pretty decent nucleus for the running game.

  90. 72. If Bynum’s knee holds up under Zarzana’s workouts over the next couple of months, then they should have no worries about giving Bynum the extension.

  91. I think Sam Amic writing something saying the Lakers called about Artest is the perfect example of wondering where that rumor started. It is possible that the Lakers did call, but what would the Sacramento front office motivation be for getting it out in the press? Maybe they want to do the deal with Kenny Thomas, the Lakers balked and they are hoping to put pressure on the Lakers front office by getting the LA fans worked up. Maybe Sacramento called LA and got rebuffed and is using this to see if they can pressure the Lakers (remember, telling the truth this time of year is far from required). Maybe Artest’s agent planted that trying to drum up trade talk after screwing up his client by telling him not to opt out. Maybe it’s none of the above and Sam’s source is questionable.

    I’m not saying the talks aren’t taking place, I’m saying people don’t tell things like that to the media without a motive.

  92. 89. The problem, if you are the Clips, is getting someone else to come. Barron did (to play with Brand?) but if you were Smith would you see the Clips as much better than Atlanta?

  93. I think people are making too much of Brand’s “betrayal”, he had the right to opt-out of his contract and as a free agent he has the right to find the best offer. It isn’t like Philly doesn’t have a good gore-group (A.I. p.2, Miller, Dalembert, Young) and a player’s coach in Cheeks. And in the East, he’ll have less of a struggle to get into the playoffs.

    I think we are overrating both Turiaf and Sasha, I think Colby Karl can replace Sasha as a shooter, and I never saw Sasha a defensive stopper, that reputation got overblown by his play against Manu in the playoffs, and Manu was injured.
    Turiaf got his money, he should go. The combo of Mihm/Mbenga can replace him.

  94. Odom for Artest sounds made up. Too much value (Odom) for too much uncertainty (Artest).

  95. The Dude Abides July 9, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Now that Marc Gasol has signed with Memphis (supposedly 3 yrs/$10m total), it’s interesting to see what we could have kept for next season if we hadn’t traded for Pau:

    Javaris Crittenton (backup PG), Darrell Arthur (backup SF/PF), Marc Gasol (backup C).

    If all three of these guys become rotation players for Memphis next season, that trade won’t be seen by the national press as quite so lopsided. I think we here at FB&G already knew that Critt and Marc Gasol were always going to be legitimate NBA contributors.

  96. Since Kurt brought up the possibility of an Artest trade, I’m hoping I can get in a related question about the possibility of a nontraditional line-up with no true PG.

    Fish is obviously getting on in years, and was never too quick to begin with. Farmar might be never amount to more than a very good back-up. And Sasha’s only hope to defend quick PGs is to annoy them.

    So what about the Lakers playing Lamar at 1 on offense and 3 on defense, while playing Ariza at 3 on offense and 1 on defense, but mostly playing zone defense? Phil doesn’t seem enamored with zone defense, but it seems as though such a line-up would best utilize our roster.

    Similarly, if the Lakers trade Farmar, Ariza & Mihm for Artest (the numbers work, but there’s no indication it’s being discussed), could the Lakers do well with a line-up of Bynum, Gasol, Artest , Kobe and Odom? Offensively, it would depend on Artest and Odom being able to hit 3s. But on defense, it would be a zone with Kobe and Artest on top.

    It seems as though our main nemisis, the pick-and-roll, would be mostly neutralized by being able to switch on every pick.


  97. (96) These are ingenious ideas, LG, but they don’t take into account all of the complexities of rotations. It won’t happen on a regular basis.

    But here’s the real kicker:

    When the Lakers signed Pau, Lamar lost his job.

    The Lakers can’t afford over $14 million for his services any more.

  98. All I been hearing about all day is how Elton Brand screwed the Clippers by going to Philly.

    All I have to say, is that Elton Brand busted his ass night-in and night-out for the Clippers and never once complained about all the losing (remember, he didn’t even want to be here in the first place, the Clips matched his offer sheet from Miami when Brand reportedly begged Sterling not to match but he did anyway) and now he wants to get away from this cursed franchise and have a chance at winning.

    I have always liked Elton Brand and I am sad to see him leave Los Angeles, but you can not blame the guy.

  99. #58
    The NBA collective bargaining does not allow contracts to have performance incentives based on the # of games played, performance, etc. Else, every team in the league would have that to guard against players who sign and get injured in week #2.

  100. Sorry to bring up Odom again, but since this thread has gone in that direction…If the Lakers can’t afford 14 Mil for LO’s services can they afford 14 mil for *anybody’s* services? I mean, in any trade they have to take back about the same amount of dollars that they give up (so if they only trade LO, then they’ll have to take back at least 12.5 mil in salaries). So what’s the point in trading LO, who’s contract expires at the end of next season, if the main concern is money? Now, if the main concern is fit, then go ahead and trade him. But realize that if you do trade him, you still have to deal with that salary commitment, and if that salary (or multiple salaries) go beyond next season, you’ve essentially extended that financial burden (considering an extention for Bynum and possibly Ariza) into the future by trading an expiring contract (Odom) for one that is longer (whoever we get in a trade). And it’s this concept that makes an LO for Artest swap even less likely. Not only does Artest make only half of what Odom makes, but his contract expires after next season as well. Does anyone want a 1 year rental on Artest and a 2 year commitment to Kenny Thomas for 17 mil? Or, does anyone want a 1 year rental on Artest and a 2 year commitment to Shareef for 12.8 mil? And I say a 1 yr. rental, because Artest’s deal expires after next year and after that he wants to get paid. He can say all he wants that he wants to play for a winner, but Artest has been one of the most underpaid players of the last 10 years. He’s an all-star talent making 1 mil more than RadMan. Just something to consider…

  101. 93) Well, it surprised me because I was sure Brand’s agent, David Falk, had been the one lobbying for Davis to sign with the Clips. If that’s the case, then… you know the rest…

    I don’t think Brand signed with the Sixers for the money. I think it was more of the impression the Sixers organization left on Brand compared to the mess in Clipperville. That alone says a lot about the Clippers, and Donald Sterling.

    It’s karma baby.

  102. Hogwash. Odom will be back after this year, although I think he will take a pay-cut. He is not worth 14 mil… rather he is the usual 6-7 mil guy (people in Odom’s class are… people 3 classes below like Diop should not make near that much)

  103. A little birdie told me that the Lakers are planning to match Ronny’s offer.

  104. The Great Googly Moogly July 9, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    JONESONTHENBA – please tell me you’re lying.

  105. If the Lakers match Ronny’s offer, then I think any idea of trading Lamar is DOA, as we must shed pretty much all of his $14M next year to afford Bynum, Ariza, then Farmar.

  106. Lakers did increase their ticket prices way more than the league average. Maybe that’ll help pay Ronny’s salary if they decide to match the offer.

  107. Dude,
    If the clips had a running style coach,I’d agree Smith makes most sense. But they have Dunleavy and Okafor makes more sense. Kaman and Okafor would be a strong defensive back-stop to the weak D out front and they would clean the glass pretty darn well and the gds and SF could do the running. And I think Bobcats would balk at $10mil plus for Okafor faster than Hawks would for Smith.
    An interesting Plan B for Clips would be signing Davis,signing Okafor w/balance of cap room and offering the full MLE to JR Smith,trading Tim Thomas to Cavs for Varejao. The Clips would end up w/a pretty decent 9 man rotation of Kaman,Okafor and Varejao,Thorton,Smith,Maggette and Gordon,Davis and Knight.

  108. Someone I trust in the league told me that. But the person they talked with in the Lakers organization could be feeding them non-sense. He seemed to think it was true though…

  109. Hate to go off topic, but if Howard Schultz ands up the owner of another franchise in Seattle, I think I’ll vomit. Thee NBA is intervening in Schulz case against Clay Bennett. Since the city has settled with Bennett, why is Schultz case still open, unless he’s trying to maneuver a good deal for himself.
    Sell the franchise he knew would leave, look like the hero trying to prevent them to leave, ultimately get the now supportive and sad Seattle fans to approve a new arena or renovations for Key Arena, and get a brand new Sonic team, meanwhile making money on the old one.

  110. Does anyone have INespn? There’s a story on the Rumors section about Turiaf signing an offer sheet. I am not a member so don’t have access.

  111. Jones,

    I think that there are some important things for the organization to review–to go through the “plan” again–but the decision to match the contract for Ronny doesn’t require some fancy cost/benefit analysis, or an ROI, or a review of the Buss family assets. It just requires common sense.

    Ronny virtually gave his life with a prayer that he would become a Laker; when he made it through surgery, he became an almost spiritual force to the fans and to the team; judged objectively, he got a strong offer simply on the basis of his obvious talent–and there was more than one suitor; as a “big,” he might have done better statistically and financially if he hadn’t played out of position so much of his time–with limited time to prepare. Sometimes he got beat up so bad, he had to sit out some games. If the no brainer market is at least $2.5 million, and there’s nobody better at $4 million, can his ability to sell NBA good will and tickets to Lakers games worth a match of $4.25 million to keep him away from Nellie’s rascals?

    Jonesy. I like those birds you hang out with!

  112. Turiaf leaving makes the Lakers focus on Kurt Thomas all the more important. Even though the Spurs have no intentions of letting him go that easy.

  113. The Dude Abides July 9, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Jones, that would be awesome if true re the Lakers matching for Ronny.

    Kurt re Josh Smith coming to the Clips…Atlanta might not match if the Clips overpay. There’s a huge schism in the ownership there.

    Stephen, your argument makes a lot of sense re Dunleavy being a defense-oriented, walk it up type of coach. It’s possible though that he could adapt his style to his personnel. You never know.

  114. I have the feeling that the Lakers will match the offer. I think the world of Ronny, but he is getting $2 million a year more than I think he is worth.

    The one reason that I think the Lakers should match is that it is only a four year deal, which can be three if you want to trade his contract as cap relief for another team in 2011. Also, as much as people out there are talking about Thomas, he is 35 year old and the Lakers would have to give him a contract similar to Turiaf’s, but a one or two years shorter.

    I would rather have Turiaf and lose Vujacic if needed. I just feel it is the right thing to do.

  115. Hi Kurt,

    Why do you think the Lakers are not looking to trade or dump Chris Mihm? I love the guy but he’s practically being paid to be injured.

  116. 34– yeah, lamar must stay now, for sure. any rotation sans lamar would have depended heavily on turiaf. i wouldnt like to see that much workload go to a new guy, even if he’s a proven talent, simply because, he may not fit.
    60– i really dont want that, and i dont think we’re going to move for artest
    96–holy crap!!! i really dont see that happening
    100– darius, good point, but you have to admit there is too much uncertainty about artest

    and overall, although i’d miss turiaf, im not too worried about his departure. we’ve got bynum and mihm returning from injury, and depending on how those 2 are holding up, we can make our moves. overall, we’ve got 4 legit bigs in gasol, bynum, lamar and mihm + DJ
    the initial speculation put turiaf’s contract at around 3M and sasha’s at 4. if we need a backup, maybe trying to get thomas to sign at 2M and saving 5M for sasha would be fine by me.

    and as far as expiring contacts go, we’ve got mihm , LO and trevo. of these, unless LO takes a paycut, we would have to drop atleast one guy.

    and then we’ve got vlad and luke as dead weight on the team for a long long time.

    putting all these pieces together, i feel the next 2 seasons are HUGE for us. and if we make a gamble which doesnt pay off, we may be back to where we were last season. thats why i feel mitch has been so cautious.

  117. Kurt,

    Regarding this comment:
    “Because of the Luxury Tax, the $4 million for Ronny is really $8 million, and that is too much for a 15-minute a game bench big.”

    I think it’s a bit unfair to look at it that way, since it’s the entire team’s salaries that contribute to having to pay the lux tax. It just so happens that it’s Ronny’s contract and the timing of it that will put them over, when the reality is that the entire team’s salary is responsible. With that thinking, would you pay the additional $4mil to keep that group out there? I don’t agree with the thinking that we would be paying $8 mil to keep a 15 minute big. I would agree that we would be paying $4 mil to keep the team intact.

  118. 115,

    Chris Mihm had a player option to stay or go this final year of his contract.

  119. Rohan (#116)
    I agree completely about Artest being an uncertainty. I’m truly an advocate for Lamar; I’m not sure if that was conveyed in my earlier post. My main point is: For those that advocate trading Lamar because of his salary, realize that we would be taking back equal salary in any trade, so what are we saving in salary? (quick answer: nothing.) And for those advocating trading Lamar because of his fit at SF, please consider the salary implications of that trade. Basically, trading Lamar is not something I support, basketball wise (even moreso now because of the potential Turiaf departure and LO’s ability to give you minutes at multiple positions) or business wise (because we’d be taking back equal salary and for a potentially longer period since LO expires next season).

  120. The Clippers should go for Okafor. Kaman is a good low-post scorer, and Okafor is a good low-post defender. They would be a good combo. If they offered him 5 / $75m, the Bobcats might consider not matching. Granted they’d be overpaying for him, but it might be worth it to recover from the Brand debacle.

    If that doesn’t work, I think they should front-load Baron’s contract, give him a huge salary in year 1 and a smaller salary in year 2, giving them big cap space again next summer.

    109. The purpose of Howard Schultz’s lawsuit is not to regain ownership himself, it’s to undo the sale. His lawsuit proposes taking the team away from Bennett and placing it in trust while looking for a new owner to sell it to.

    110. I have ESPN insider, but I don’t bother with their rumors section because it sucks. Just go to the HoopsHype rumors section, they have all the same stuff that ESPN does, and lots, lots more.

  121. Darius,
    A trade involving Lamar would be done if the Lakers get someone who is worth 14M (presumably with a longer contract, which is why a team would consider that) or if they could get a cheaper player they will keep (i.e. who addresses a weakness) and an expiring contract or another cheaper player who could replace someone currently on the roster. That is why they would consider it.

  122. Here is a list of unrestricted free agent centers/power forwards, according to Chad Ford: Kurt Thomas, Kwame Brown, Eduardo Najera, Matt Barnes, Alonzo Mourning, Patrick O’Bryant, Robert Horry, Jamal Magliore, Michael Doleac, Theo Ratliff, Primoz Brezec, Francisco Elson, and Adonal Foyle. Of that list, only Thomas, and Najera do anything for me. None of them are particularly good, but they all seem serviceable.

    Thomas would be the pricey option, but would still be cheaper than matching GS on Turiaf. I’m not going to go into him since others have already done so.

    Najera, though, I think would be a good option. He’d bring a good chunk of what Turiaf brought: he’s a solid a solid energy guy and would be loads cheaper than matching Turiaf. His PER is well down on Turiaf of course (12.07 for Najera compared to 15.05 for Turiaf), but I bet he could be had for ~ $6m over 2 years. Anyways, the Lakers don’t really need scoring from their backup center since Gasol will also spend time at that position. They need an energy and defense and Najera can bring some of that.

    As for a replacement for Sasha, should be bolt . . . well, there’s a lot of options. As good as Vujacic was, I think we really are overrating him as a player. He was serviceable, and basically got his name for doing just about what he was supposed to do: hit open jumpers when defenders swarmed Kobe. Even then, he really played mediocre defense all year long, and even worse in the playoffs (his play against a gimpy Ginobli notwithstanding). If some team signs Vujacic to an outrageous offer sheet, I think the Lakers should let him go, since there are a lot of options out there, like Carlos Delfino, Antoine Wright, and, hell, Brent Barry. Don’t forget, the Lakers are going to get Sun Yue from the Chinese National Team, n all likelihood, too

    ButI’m going to throw a wild idea out there. What if the Lakers could get Matt Barnes for cheap? With all the money that GS is throwing out and wih Ellis and Biedrins being higher priority, he maybe had for very little. Yeah, he’s listed as a 4, but that’s only in Golden State’s run-and-gun system and he’s actually the same height as Vujacic. His outside shot fell off last year, but in 06-07, he hit the 3 pointer 36% of the time. No, that’s not anywhere near as good as Sasha’s last year, but he had so many open looks it’s not even funny. I think Barnes would be better at the 2 or 3. He’s not particularly good inside, true, but he could definitely be pressed into service there if need be, too. Just an idea. Of course I’d rather have Sasha than Barnes, but if it comes down to a dramatic difference in salary, I’d probably go with a Delfino or a Barnes instead of overpaying Vujacic.

  123. (119) Darius,

    2008-2009 is Lamar’s last contract year. Last year was Kwame Brown’s final contract year. Memphis didn’t offer him a contract, and this year their salary cap is $10 million lower.

    Every NBA basketball team has to deal with salary issues. Early in a player’s career, a desireable player negotiates a multiyear contract of increasing pay. Later in a player’s career, he often becomes a free agent because the team is no longer willing or able to pay increases. Older players who become free agents then negotiate much lower salaries–ultimately from about $6 million down. Look up what Sam Cassell got with Boston last year.

    That is what Lamar is facing next year. If the Lakers tried to maintain increases for Pau and Kobe and increase the salary of Andrew dramatically, they might pay $50 million for just those three players. Add $15 million for Lamar and you are at the salary cap–except you have already negotiated salaries for Derek, Jordan, Vladimir, Luke, maybe Sasha/Ronny, etc.–and, by the way, you’d like to hold on to Trevor with a salary package–and others on the way. That doesn’t include “deals” for any other players like Ron or new signings.

    As things stand, the Lakers are being forced to dump Lamar next year much like Memphis did with Kwame or substantially change their plans (like trading Andrew Bynum). There are many ways that this could happen (or not happen) this year. Usually, teams find ways to help much loved players like Lamar to transition to a team that has cap room for their salary. That’s what I keep looking for.

    You are not necessarily being kind to Lamar by encouraging the Lakers to change him from a star to a role player earning $14+ million. For years, Hollinger has argued that the triangle has been ruining Lamar’s career. This could be the worst case. Lamar might do better going to a team that could still use him as a star for the next 5 years and has the money to extend his salary and pay him.

  124. exhelodrvr,
    I don’t agree that “A trade involving Lamar would be done if the Lakers get someone who is worth 14M” .

    The issue isn’t the worth of the incoming player. The issue is the current imbalance of the Laker salary structure. After next year the Lakers must get salary relief if they are to pay Bynum and Ariza. The year after that they will have to pay Farmar and then Kobe and Pau the following year.

    We just cannot afford another reasonably expensive piece. That is the true result of the Gasol trade. We will have 3 high priced players (Kobe, Bynum, Gasol) and our other pieces will have to fit around them.

  125. The reason the comment was made earlier that the Gasol trade put Lamar out in the cold, was that we can no longer afford Lamar. We had two large contracts (Lamar and Kwame) and we traded one for an even larger contract (Pau). No only was Lamar redundant in position, but our salary structure was now so out of whack that Buss must take a substantial hit not only in 2007/8, but in 2008/9 as well. With the Walton and Vlade contracts going into the future, we just cannot make any more mistakes on overpaying people. That is why I think Turiaf may still walk. While he might marginally be worth $4M to us next year we have to ask ourselves what he does to our salary structure over the next 3 yrs. If we sign him, he darn well better improve his ability to stay on the floor during games.

  126. exhelodrvr,
    I gotta agree with Craig on your first point. I don’t think the Lakers would take on a high annual contract with multiple seasons on it for Lamar. I think the only way that they would *consider* it is if it was a Gasol-like heist. And when you’re talking about a player of Lamar’s caliber (in comparison to Kwame) they’d need to land a player of Wade or Dirk’s quality. As for trading for a good young player that is cheap, still full of promise, and fills a need (or multiple players that fit that description) and combine that with a sizable expiring contract, I think that is more realistic and that the team would consider something like that. Realize that I’m not opposed to trading Lamar and completely determined to keep him on the team at all costs. I just don’t agree with unrealistic approaches (like the Richard Jefferson talk that was going on 10 days ago, or talk of Artest when he’s an expiring deal like Lamar and would be paired with at least 2 more years of Shareef or K. Thomas). Ultimately, and I’ve said this before, I think we need to see how our reconfigured front-line plays together and protect our front court depth. Hence, I support keeping Lamar at least to the trade deadline. But smart basketball moves that improve the team in the short and long term can not be ignored, no matter my feelings for any player.

    Based off your comment, I don’t think you understand my stance on Lamar’s contract beyond next season. I do not support the idea of Lamar staying with the Lakers beyond next season at his current salary. Obviously, with the structure of the team, Lamar should be paid like he’s fourth in line behind Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum. That’s what his role dictates and that’s where the hierarchy of the team dictates his salary be slotted. While you’ve said that you think Lamar should take a pay cut to the 6 mil mark per season, I’ve said that his value is more in the 8-10 mil per year range. That’s not too far off in financial commitment between our two ideas, though I do realize the luxury tax implications of my proposed salary commitment to our 4th best player. In the end, I’m all for a practical and smart approach to Lamar. But trading Lamar before the season doesn’t make sense to me just off the basis of our front court depth and the injury risks of the players in our front court rotation. Over the past 2 seasons, Gasol has missed 39 games and he hasn’t played a full 82 game season since his 2nd season. Mihm has missed 141 games in the past 2 seasons. Bynum is coming off 35 games played. I think we need LO. His salary is what it is next season, so I think it’s pointless to debate his stance on the team next year in terms of his salary. To me, it’s more about his fit. Beyond next season? Who knows, but I think the FO will do what’s best for the team.

  127. 29) Kwame a. I too like the idea of Craig Smith over Kurt Thomas. Craig maybe undersized, but so what! He gets the job done!

    I think the Lakers should get him because he is young enough to thoroughly learn the triangle. And stay around long enough for the Lakers to win 3-4 championships. This kid is tough and has always been undersized.

    Plus he’s a Cali baby and it would be a first for the Lakers (I believe) to have three California players on the team.

    I remember Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis and Michael Cooper. Does anyone else remember three California players on a Laker team?

  128. 117. Yes, technically it is the entire team salary that puts the team over the cap, but a certain amount of that is fixed. But to me the timing does matter, and it is the role players and what you pay them that determines how far over the tax you are (something that has to be balanced with player quality). Here’s the thing, the season after next Bynum is going to get a big payday, but what he gets is the price of quality. As someone said, the key is what you pay the guys around him (and Gasol and Kobe) and how you get good players that fit your system at that fair price. So, to me, it’s fair to view Turiaf as the guy putting you over the tax. Same with Vlad, but we can’t move him.

    115. Where are you going to trade or dump Chris Mihm? Nobody is going to pay $2.5 mil to a guy who has not played for two years. And this is not the NFL, you can’t just cut him and wipe away his contract.

  129. Why don’t we take a flyer on Shaun Livingston? We all know PJ loves the big guards, and he’s a low risk high reward type player. Plus he’s unrestricted. I think we could get him on the cheap. He’s better than Joe Crawford or Coby Karl, at least.

    Might help Farmar, gives some competition for the “future PG” of this team, since he knows Fisher’s time is limited.

  130. The Dude Abides July 9, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    I say we match Ronny. Then if the Warriors still want to mess with us, they can sign Sasha to an offer sheet and overpay him: say, 5 yrs/$35m. Then we tell the Warriors that we’re going to match, but we’ll take Stephen Jackson in a sign and trade. C’mon Kurt, let this one through! LOL

  131. By the way, both the OC Register and the LA Times are reporting that Ronny has yet to actually sign the deal with the Warriors. He is expected to tomorrow (and the Lakers then have seven days) but it has yet to happen.

    By the way, I may not think they will, but I hope Jonesonthenba is right and the Lakers do match. I just like having Ronny on the team. If I were Mitch I’d explore the Kurt Thomas idea, see if I could get him cheaper for fewer years, but if not maybe I would match. But, like I said, I love having the guy on the team.

  132. (126O)Darius,

    it is possible that the Lakers will go forward with the team they had last year. They may well add in some “small change” short term veterans. If they do, Lamar will become a free agent the next year. I guess you haven’t done the math or read Craig’s post. I’ll leave it to you to work the numbers out for yourself.

    A far more likely scenario is that the Lakers will posture as if they are going forward life last year, but find a win-win trade along the way for Lamar that simultaneously addresses cap space needs for the next year(s) and helps them win a championship. The “keep Lamar” above will only happen if they can’t do anything else.

    I don’t think any real deals involving trades for Lamar will surface until the Lakers settle free agency. Unless Sasha comes in under $4 million, I’d prefer that the Lakers sign Ronny and Mo Evans for about $7 million combined. Sun would hold the rookie slot with the rest placeholder: perhaps Coby, DJ, and an empty slot.

    The “team” would come in at about $85 million–$14 million of luxury tax.

    Here’s how a “good” hypothetical Laker win-win trade would work. Suppose that the Lakers were able to trade Lamar and Vladimir for Brad Miller and Ron Artest. The Lakers would get Ron for one year ($7.4 million) and Brad for two years ($11million) and would reduce salaries about $2 million for the Lakers for this year (2008-2009), $10 million the next (2009-2010, and $10 million the year after (2010-2011). Those drops would support the re signing of all the Lakers key players for the next two years. Meanwhile, Ron might help us defend the 3, mentoring Ariza along the way and helping us win a championship. Brad is a 7 foot two time all star with great range to his shooting. Sacto has two other centers: Brad is 32. Ron you know. Lamar is a better fit at the 4. Better rebounder. They need a 3 point shooter who can spot up (Vladimir could be Peja light). Lamar, of course, has a $14 million expiring for next year. Sacto needs luxury tax relief.

  133. Wonderful posts guys! I wouldn’t be surprised myself if we match that offer for Turiaf. But we can only go so much. The man is a great presence no doubt but we have to weigh our options. Again, we should also eye Kurt Thomas and if we can get them both, then go for it. I am also itching for an FA signing. I know the options are limited and most of them are SFs which we have in numbers, but it is still a good thing to strengthen our bench. Again, I’m with the tweaking than overhauling thing UNLESS something lucrative (for the long-run or for the coming championship) is offered. I think the Lakers have a good chance with the situation we have of luring in the great names.

    I think the Bucks are giving Bynum’s agent to ask for the max with their Bogut extension. The Sixers are looking good! The Clippers, of now look a bit lost, not unless 3 good names fall into place in a week or so. I hope B. Diddy is gunning for a title and he knows all too well that Los Angeles Lakers basketball as of now can offer him that and a nice homecoming. In this case, I consider that an addition and not an overhaul project. Re: Artest and Odom trades, hmmm, not unless we get Brad Miller (not K. Thomas) will I think about this. But this will change the mix so it might not be good.


  134. Not sure but something seemed ‘off’ with Ronny the last part of the season and the playoffs. He didn’t get much PT and the energy level seemed down. Not sure if the former led to the latter but on more than one occassion I thought he looked unfocused. So much so that I thought he had already checked out and was looking forward to more opportunities with another team. Somehow I think he will be a much better player with a team that gives him a chance to start. (Just as he seemed to play better early in the season when he was the starting PF and LO was the SF.) Maybe Ronny should hope the Lakers don’t match and maybe someone like Richard Hendrix will fall through cracks and onto the Lakers lap.

  135. the other Stephen July 10, 2008 at 4:57 am

    i would rather that josh smith goes to philly right now. unless the clips get it together and make a commitment. i’d hate to see another bunch of talents be wasted: davis, smith, thornton, kaman.

  136. The Lakers as an economic agent operate in an almost perfectly vertical inelastic supply market. That is, there is a fixed supply of seats on offer and a high demand for those seats. This equals pricing power. Also the consumption of these tickets is inelastic to exogenous factors such as overal economic state of the community. A 10% decline in mean wages of greater Los Angeles does not precipitate a commensurate decline in ticket prices.

    If Ronny’s fair market salary is $2.5M per annum (for argument’s) sake, the incremental $1.5M “over payment” works out to an average increase in home ticket prices of $2 per ticket. Due to inelastic supply and demand properties, the Lakers have ample ability to absorb the extra $1.5M with no impact on team (and the Buss family) finances.

    The only time that salary levels matter is if you under the cap and need room to make a big signing. Once you are over the cap the only thing that matters is the elasticity of your local supply – demand market. The Lakers are fortunate to have an inelastic one.*

    So I think they match Ronny because of the “Endowment Effect” – to be covered in another post.

    * They have to keep winning to keep the markets inelastic.

  137. Judging by this past year, $4M for 4 years is too much for Ronny. At that price and length, the Lakers have to let him go.
    Kurt Thomas played well in this years playoffs. If the Lakers could sign him at $2M – $3M for 1 or 2 years, that would give them a tough veteran player at the 4 and 5 positions, which is what they’re lacking and need to sign.
    At these figures, it would make sense to have Kurt rather than Ronny.

    As for Sasha: an average player at the 2 position is one of the easiest to find. The Lakers should try to keep him, but shouldn’t overpay. Up to about $4M – $4.5M for 3 or 4 years, they should keep him. More than that and the Lakers will have to let him go.

  138. 133 – Another great post from you. Although you lost me at “The Lakers as an”… when you cover “Endowment Effect” also please go over “vertical inelastic supply market”. I just remembered why I failed my econ class!

  139. 133— EH??? and seriously man… im about to become a Phd… youre REALLY shaking my confidence 😛

  140. I believe what the Lakers do with Turiaf and Vujacic will be indicative of what sort of philosophy they’ll employ w/r/t make-up of their team.

    Resigning both players tells me that they’re going to concentrate on locking up Bynum, Gasol, and Kobe for the long run; supplementing their core with mid-money veterans, a la the Spurs. This means this’ll be the last year Odom plays for the Lakers, unless he is willing to take less $. Odom deserves both a long-term deal at more than $6M or $7M a year.

    If they don’t resign both players, then I believe the Lakers are committed to either retaining Odom or trading him for another big contract/star; supplementing that core with inexpensive roleplayers, journeymen, and castoffs.

    I believe the Lakers go with scenario #1. The Lakers are able to field a team with greater depth, more triangle-experience, and movable contracts. And because the Lakers have invested a lot of time in preparing players like Sasha and Turiaf to play within the triangle, they’re harder to replace and they’re (arguably)more valuable than comparable players because of their experience in the system.

  141. If Ronny gets 4 yrs 17 mil, some team is going to offer Sasha 4 yrs 28 mil. I say we match Sasha but let Ronny go. These contracts these players get are just crazy. These clubs must make tons of money.

  142. Sorry for the double post. Ronny was offered a 4 yr deal for $17M. Do the Lakers have to match that contract exactly, or will an offer of say 5 yrs for $20M allow them to retain Turiaf?

  143. If the Lakers are going to let Odom’s contract expire and not resign him after next season (which is a very real possibility unless he is willing to take a big pay cut), then it wouldn’t be a bad decision financially to offer a player a full MLE size contract. If this was the route the Lakers were taking, then they could offer someone like Childress an MLE contract and see if Atlanta matches. He and Ariza could share minutes at the 3 after next season once Odom was gone. If they are planning on keeping Odom, and resigning him for somewhere in teh 6-10M range, then obviously they can not do this.

    All of the financial implications of resigning Turiaf (at that steep price) and Vujacic (depending on what is offered for him) or signing any FA’s hinges on what the Lakers plan on doing with Lamar. My guess is that they match for Ronnie and resign Vujacic, then deal with Odom after the season is over. But management has to be at least contemplating what they are going to do with his salary after this season (in my fantasy world the Lakers trade Odom for Tayshaun Prince).

  144. the other Stephen July 10, 2008 at 6:57 am

    133. it’s fortunate for the owners, but not for home court atmosphere. it’s true that given the nature of the market, the franchise can soak up the costs relatively easily, but i think you know that’s not quite the point. in the end, it’s a question of to what extent spending is a valid measure of winning a championship. and it’s not an arms race in which the one who spends the most and stockpiles the most big guns wins. you have to consider maneuverability and value of contracts, which comes with a degree of prudence and thrift. henry over at truehoop reminded us recently, that only 3 of the seven or eight teams over the luxury tax this past season even made it past the first round of the playoffs. i don’t think mitch kupchak recklessly overspent to get us to this point. so does ronny’s potential contribution to winning justify paying him that amount of money? as much as i love both players, maybe some people are right in that odom’s contract is the real issue here.

  145. Great stuff from Bill. Brings back painful memories of my law and econ exam.

    The problem I have with quickly concluding that it is too much to match on Turiaf is that we don’t have enough knowledge of the variables in play. There are really three parts to a free agent signing: (1) will the player make your team better (fit and skills), (2) is the player’s salary at fair value (based on the market, length, age, risk, ability to replace), (3) does the salary fit within the team’s bottom line payroll budget without costing them a greater need.

    I think we can safely analyze prongs (1) and (2). First, Ronny unequivocally makes us better. He is better than our other existing backup big men and as good as or better than others available on the market. Second, I believe the proposed contract is fair value. While we remember overpaying for role players the last two summers with Luke and Radman and are now reaping some of the consequences, that does not necessarily mean that Ronny is overpriced. There is a much shallower supply of quality, young big men that are sure to contribute in their minutes than there are of role wing players. These big men are almost always “overpaid” in free agency, but that really just means that the market dictates them being worth more per production than players at other positions. Ronny is big, active, has decent skills (high post jumper, good passer), provides great chemistry, and has proven he can produce when called upon to fill in as a starter when injuries hit. In today’s big man market, that is worth $4M a year, which means the contract would almost surely be movable at any point in the future. Yes he hit some kind of wall late in the season, but don’t forget how critical he was on the road trip before Gasol arrived, or after Gasol sprained his ankle.

    That leaves us with the final variable — payroll budget. This is what we don’t know and why we are probably all over the map on the issue. If Buss’s bottom line is something like $77-80M for the final 14 man roster (probably a reasonable assumption given the past), then matching on Turiaf has serious consequences. It means we either need to move one of Radman/Luke (unlikely) or pass on Sasha. Between Ronny and Sasha, I think we all prefer Sasha, so that means Turiaf has to go. However, if Buss’s bottom line is a little higher, then matching on Turiaf becomes very reasonable given how he helps the team and the moderate contract amount.

    So, I think all we can really do is evaluate fit and value, with some speculation about Buss’s likely bottom line. But without the full picture, we can’t strongly determine what signing does or does not make sense for the team.

  146. I think some of you here are forgetting that the Lakers hold all of the leverage with Lamar. Providing they can re-sign Bynum at a figure they are comfortable with, the onus is on Lamar to negotiate a number good for the Lakers, IF both parties want LO to remain a Laker. This team will be good regardless. I do see them being better with Lamar, but the ball is in his court if he wants to remain a Laker. These Lamar debates, and possible trade rumors only work in the FO’s favor, basically getting the message to Lamar, if you’re going to saty a Laker, you will have to meet us more than we need to meet you. It has now been a couple summers worth of “proposed” trades that Lamar has been part of that didn’t work out, again working into the FO’s favor. With the upcoming free agent classes, the market for Lamar, who is now viewed as being inconsistant #2 option, and a better 3rd option, will not be big. He might not see another 14 mill per year pay day no matter who he plays with. So, why not resign with the Lakers for 8 mill, rather than go off with another team for the same?
    As far as the Luxury tax, remember that the Lakers had a bill of 3.5 mill. The Lakrs are a team that can afford it of they want to, plus they make much more than that with a team that makes the Finals. So, I don’t think the Buss’ mind being over the cap, as long as they ca make that money back (they aren’t in the NY Knick territory of 19 mill+ with no playoff money to show). So could they match Ronny? Sure, if they are sure that they can leave themselves wiggle room in the future. I don’t think their luxury tax issues are as big a problem as one might believe. They were #7 on the list, but probably the 2nd richest team in the League. The luxury tax issues for the Lakers are probably more smokescreens to keep agents in line. It’s a matter of “will” they, rather than “can” they.

  147. Reed,
    If Buss’s bottom line is around $80M, then we also have to look at the situation next year. 1) Lamar and his $14M are almost certainly gone without compensation because 2) we have to pay Bynum and Ariza and that will cost at least $14M more than we are paying now – assuming they both progress this year.

  148. First, I think we are talking too much in terms of what Buss could or should be able to spend given likely large revenues. While that may be true, it is ultimately neither here nor there. The issue is how much he is willing to spend, whether we agree that amount or not. Looking back at his spending history, I think we safely assume that he will pay a little tax, but not a lot and that he will trim desired depth and role players to keep the bottom line down. So I’m looking at somewhere between $75-80M, which makes things awfully tight given Kobe, Pau, Lamar, and soon Drew.

    Craig — you are right. Though I do not think matching on Ronny will affect our flexibility next summer. Next summer he’ll be sitting on a 3 year, $13M contract. That has to be freely tradeable, right? For a 26 year old decent big man?

  149. Warren Wee Lim July 10, 2008 at 7:40 am

    I love whats going on in here. Summer doesn’t feel like it.

    What I have yet to hear, is a fiscally sound proposal as to WHAT WE SHOULD DO with the team and payroll AS A WHOLE in order to accommodate all these.

    Remember, you cannot afford to hold all 12 “useful” guys on your team forever. At some point or another, you hold on to what you can, and you let go of what you can’t.

    Ronny is a prime example of this. Do you view him as merely an energy guy or a glue guy? A 15-min bench warmer? or an all-important support big man with a million voltage of energy and hustle?

    Sasha is next. Is he the prime shooter we all think he is? or will he Luke Walton-ize after he gets paid? Will a yr-older Sasha prove to be the missing piece to our puzzle? or will he simply “cruise” and collect his money?

    Now I ask you – If you were to CHOOSE 8 GUYS from the current Laker team to keep, who would they be?

    1. Kobe
    2. Pau
    3. Drew
    4. Lamar (without salary implications)
    5. Fish
    6. Ariza
    7. Farmar (since Fish’s time is limited)
    8. _________

    Is this Ronny? or Sasha?

  150. Warren Wee Lim July 10, 2008 at 7:45 am

    As an addendum to my previous post, the thing that we should all wake up to is the fact that we simply cannot retain 12 “rotation” players. Sacrifices will have to be made and hard decisions will have to be stood by. Championship contention or not. If you think Kobe will go gaga on the media over this, you would be underestimating his IQ.

    Using my “top 8” scheme, who are the “most important” guys to keep? Consider everything and make your own list. Forget salaries, forget restrictions, forget the luxury tax and forget everything else.

    And in all this, you fail to take into account the power of Kobe’s opt-out could do. Kobe could negotiate his own new max contract until he is 35 (6yrs and max contract) effectively reducing the payroll next year by some 4-5m – in an effort to keep Lamar Odom.

  151. One thing to consider in the Sasha v. Ronny debate. If we have to sign one of them, just remember that Ronny has played the same way his entire career with the Lakers, gradually improving over time. Sasha waited until his contract year to bust out. Other than this year, he basically contributed nothing. I’m always a little worried about guys that play their butts off right before free agency.

    I also believe it is harder to find a serviceable big man that blocks shots, can finish around the rim, and plays with energy than it is to find a back up off guard to knock down threes and play aggressive defense (except on Ray Allen in game 4…woooopppsss).

    But Reed is also right about us not knowing what the Lakers bottom line is. I just know that in 2007 with a decently high payroll and with a team that was not even close to as good, the Lakers still made $31M in profit. Revenue from advertisers, ticket sales, merchandise, and concessions (although people might have drank more during the down years out of depression), seemingly all go up when a team is winning. The Lakers have one of the best business operations departments in the league. They will figure out how to capitalize on the team’s success and make even more money, which would allow them to go over the luxury tax and still have a bottom line that is satisfactory to them. People also forget that this team is also owned by AEG (30%). They are well capitalized and will likely be very willing to do anything to keep this team winning and rolling, as the Lakers are key to driving people downtown and making the other AEG properties (L.A. Live) viable. The real concern for the Lakers is not if they can afford it, but if it ruins cap flexibility in the future. But sometimes, when you’ve got a team that is capable of winning for years to come, you just have take your chances, roll the dice, and worry about the future burden when you get there. I mean, look how it is paying off for Boston. Their salary Burden with the big three is pretty ridiculous, and will stay that way while those guys are on the roster. They pretty much have no cap flexibility beyond the mid-level. But they don’t care, because they are making money and are winning. Just some things to keep in mind when discussing the Lakers and their financial situation.

  152. Warren Wee Lim July 10, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Just in case it comes to discussion, Kobe can actually choose to loop a hole for the Lakers. He is scheduled to earn some 23m+ next year and 24m+ the year after. Total that and that’s a $48m you are leaving on the table.

    Should he decide to opt out to accommodate some teammates (cough Lamar cough), Kobe could be leaving out the 48 off the table, renegotiate his new contract with the Buss’ giving him some 19m of starting salaries for next yr (effectively reducing the payroll by 4-5m) and with the usual max increases of 10.5% yearly.

    In case you ask why, I have 3 reasons:

    1. It just seems Kobe-like to do this. Very good for PR.
    2. Keeping the team together strengthens the ability to stay in contention or repeat.
    3. A 30yo old Kobe asking for MAX money seems reasonable compared to a 32yo old one asking for the same. Besides, Kobe asking for a MAX contract by the time he is 32 would almost assure another “drama” in Hollywood. I’d rather ink him next yr till he retires (still w/ the no-trade clause of course) than risk losing him in 2011.

  153. Really helpful, Jones.

  154. Warren,
    The problem with your logic is the contracts of Vlade and Walton. They remain on the team, regardless, because of their contracts. This reduces your flexibility in choosing your 8man squad. This is because $ do count, sometimes as much as talent.

    Example: We may have to remove Lamar because we sign both Turiaf and Sasha. Your point about Kobe negotiating a new contract that lowers our cost $4-5M is an interesting point and could clear room for Lamar.

  155. Warren,

    You lovve the word “addendum.” Haha. You should post under that name.

    Every post keeps going back to Lamar. Yawn.

    From a PR standpoint, Kobe has put himself in a situation where he SHOULD conced some pay for ther sake of keepting a competitive team. Will he? Don’t know, but he will create a problem if he doesn’t. I think he will realize this.

  156. Jones — I have to disagree with your comparison of Ronny and Sasha. Using PER to simply evaluate improval, Ronny’s second year in the league was signficantly better than his first (when he was a rookie coming off heart surgery), but he hit a plateau in his third year. And his physique hasn’t improved at all, as far as I can tell, which is a problem considering his weak base. Overall, I question whether Ronny has any more upside. I’d still love the Lakers to sign him, because he’s better than the cheaper free agent alternatives, and he’s fun to watch, but he is what he is.

    Sasha, in contrast, has basically the same PER his first two years, then jumped his PER by 3 in his third year and again in his fourth year. Unlike Ronny, I’ve seen a number of stories on how hard he works to improve his game. Because of his athletic limitations, I’m not sure how much more he can improve (other than with his consistency and decision-making), but I don’t think he’ll drop off after getting his long-term contract.

  157. Warren,

    An addendum (haha). I didn’t mean specifically about every post going back to Lamar. I meant the converstaion. Every conversation or post is going back to Lamar.

  158. Small comment regarding not being able to trade Odom. I agree on not being able trade him for another big contract, but we can trade him for some useful role players and possible draft picks to a team with cap space so they can absorb his contract without us having to take back equal in salary.

    I understand that is difficult considering he is in the final year of his contract but possibly a sign and trade a la Rashard Lewis in the offseason is a possibility.

    There are options. I prefer to keep him if possible I believe we can cover his weaknesses and him and Ariza can make a deadly combo at the 3.

  159. Wondahbap-I agree. I really hope Kobe opts out, and pulls an anti-Brand, ACTUALLY resigning for a little less next year. This would ensure he gets the help he will need to continue to play at a high level for 4-6 more years.

  160. On a side note I just read at True Hoop that Spurs signed Roger Mason to a two-year 7.5 mil deal.

    So that effectively takes them off the Sasha market and sets a price point that Sasha type players. This should help the Lakers in their negotiations.

  161. Warren Addendum July 10, 2008 at 9:01 am

    SO this is the name y’all like me to post in? LOL.

    Seriously, the maneuvering of the cap can be done in many ways, shape and form. For one, trading Lamar to a team that has cap space (cough GS cough) for someone with lesser salary effectively enables us to reduce payroll (thereby accommodating Ronny and Sasha) while getting a player whom we could use still. Stephen Jax comes to mind here.

    GS can absorb the remainder of 14.5m-7.1m thru their cap space, we get a “3” guy who is a tenacious defender, and we effectively cut some 8.4m off the payroll. As the faulty logic suggests, that’s $16.8m in savings.

  162. Man… Ronny gone?? This is a very sad day indeed. If only there was some way we could keep him. Ronny has done so much for this team and the NBA as a whole. No one else shows that much emotion. He showed the NBA and the fans what it is like to be in love with the game and with life. He was always cheering, no matter what the score was. He played as hard as he could for as long as we needed him, and did it all after coming back from heart surgery.

    Ronny, good luck with the warriors. I will be watching every game that I can. Show those bums up there how to really play some basketball.

  163. I might already be late on this but is reporting (via the Sacramento newspapers) that the Lakers are in talks for a odom/artest trade. wtf?

  164. Guys, I just started a new post, hoping to continue the “what can the Lakers really afford and should they?” discussion, plus we’ll add news as the day goes on. Just so many comments (and a great discussion) I wanted to provide a bit of a clean slate.

  165. 142. If Ronny signs the offer sheet from GS, the Lakers have to match it exactly, they cannot make any alterations. If Ronny doesn’t actually sign with GS, but takes their offer back to the Lakers and says “Here’s what they offered me”, then the Lakers can negotiate different terms in a deal with him. It all depends on whether or not he actually signs the offer from GS.

    141. Who is going to offer Sasha 4 years / $28 million? It’s easy to throw out statements like that, but you have to look at the facts. An offer for 4 / $28 is more than the mid-level, and only three teams right now have the cap space to make such an offer – Memphis, Golden State and the Clippers.

    Memphis has a glut of guards and word around the league is that they’ll save their cap space for next summer. The Clippers have two shooting guards, including lottery pick Eric Gordon. The Warriors are really the only logical possibility. They just committed $50m to Maggette, would they offer Sasha a big contract? They like shooters, so maybe.

    The most realistic threat is someone offering Sasha a full mid-level deal, 5 years / $30m, like Toronto did with Kapono last year.

  166. Guys, i’m from Brazil. I really Iove this blog.
    As a Laker fan, read this forum everyday and imagine that i can never post like you, simply because i cant watch as many lakers game as you.
    Althought, i was able to watch all playoff games and what bothers me the most was rebounding.
    We are killed by UTAH, SAS and Boston, leading to less FG and more second opportunities.
    That´s why i think we should unload Turiaf, mantain LO and look for another Rebounder.
    I think Bynun will do some of the work, but i dont see Gasol improving on this and i dont see Turiaf contribuing.

  167. Bergmann,
    Most games are available via the internet – you might try that method next season.

  168. 151) Jones-
    Actually, Sasha improved quite a bit between in both 2006-7 and in 2007-8. He had a solid year in 2006-7, and then improved on that. This isn’t just a contract year push.

  169. 145) “He is better than our other existing backup big men and as good as or better than others available on the market.”

    Not if Lamar is going to be used as a 6th man, and if you consider Gasol as the back-up center. And if Mihm gets even close to pre-injurty form, he is not as good as Mihm.

  170. Craig W,
    “The issue isn’t the worth of the incoming player.”

    That is absolutely a huge part of the issue. If Lamar was “worth” 14 M, the Lakers would probably be re-signing him, and trying to cut corners elsewhere. (i.e. not even thinking about Posey.) If they could trade Lamar for someone who played at a very good #2 option/borderline #1 option level, which is what he is paid at, they would.

  171. 167) i serch some stream games last season but i can only see the last LAL – DAl game. Do you know any sites that stream the games in regular basis ?

  172. 171 – Bergmann, you can usually download games after they’re played on torrent sites like or You have to sign up for both sites, but they’re great sites if you reside outside the US. Sportbit only lets people sign up for access a few times a year.

    One more torrent source is You don’t have to sign up for this site.

    You can sometimes stream live games on P2P sites, too, like The P2P sites sometimes prove difficult to get something of manageable quality (at least for me it is).

    A last resort, sometimes streams games – at least they did during the playoffs.